It’s a small world after all


Esoteric: intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge of interest

There are a few things that interest me that are esoteric: they are things you cannot understand unless you have experienced them. Some of them are things that people think they can understand, or are also interested in, but unless you’ve been there, done that, trust me — you don’t really get it.

So a small, esoteric group of people will totally get this post. Other people will have suggestions, or sympathy, no doubt.

Most of us cluster somewhere in the middle of statistical distributions. But there are lots of bell curves, and pretty much everyone is on a tail end of at least one of them.
–Virginia Postrel

Getting out of BOTP
If you don’t know what BOTP stands for, which is back of the pack, by the way, chances are you have never been there. And you don’t understand the frustration of being there, either.

Or maybe you were there once due to illness or injury. Still not the same thing as coming in consistently BOTP.

Just as I don’t know (yet) what it’s like to be DFL (dead friggin’ last) or to have the sweepers right behind me. I might sympathize with those who have been swept or been threatened to be swept, but I’m not a part of that esoteric group.

You may think you understand how it feels to be BOTP: most of us do want to get faster, to do better, to challenge ourselves.

As the quote above says, we almost all are outside “normal” at some time. And it’s frustrating.

But unless you’re a BOTPer like me, who puts in the work, but remains BOTP, you just don’t understand. You don’t have to play the violins here, I’m not looking for sympathy or advice — just remember you have to walk (or run) a few miles in someone else’s shoes before you can truly know them.

If you’ve ever won an age group award (and weren’t the only person in your age group), then you don’t understand. If you’ve ever had a bad day and found yourself unexpectedly in the BOTP, then again, trust me, you don’t understand.

Some of you do, though.

Weight loss & weight management
Almost everyone, it seems, wants to lose weight. It’s not really an esoteric goal. To have struggled to maintain your weight your entire adult life, to have more than just vanity pounds to lose — more than once! — that’s an esoteric group.

Maybe not for runners — or maybe it is. It seems as though most of the runners I meet are naturally thin. Of course most of the women would love to drop a few pounds, but they’ve never really been heavy or struggled with their weight, so they don’t understand why I’m so careful about what I eat.

And yet I know I’ve seen plenty of heavy runners, too. You know, those ones that are always passing me in races? Runners come in all shapes and sizes. Good runners come in all shapes and sizes, too, which always blows my mind!

There are a lot of diseases that run in my family and being overweight can contribute to them. When I lost weight in my late 20s, it was mostly vanity (and tired of always being tired). Now, in my late 40s and early 50s, it’s a lot more about being healthy.

So no, you may never understand my approach to eating or my need to maintain a certain weight. That’s okay. I know why I do it, and that’s the most important thing.

One thing I know for sure
We all have things we go through, and struggle with, that only a small group of people really understand, and that, to me, is the definition of esoteric.

Deb Runs

Tell me in the comments:

What esoteric groups are you a part of?

Would you rather not be a part of those groups?

Do you feel there are things about you other people just don’t get?

Opportunist: how will you use your minutes?


Opportunist: a person who exploits circumstances to gain immediate advantage rather than being guided by consistent principles or plans

I have to admit, in general I don’t consider myself to be an opportunist, except, perhaps, when it comes to training plans. I like to experiment, which means while certain elements of my half marathon training remain the same, I’d be bored if I did the same plan every single time.

I’m always looking for that holy grail — the plan that will help me capture that elusive running unicorn — you know, the 20 minute PR? I keep doing the work, but I often feel as though I am spinning my wheels and not advancing (I’m picturing the ferrari in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off here).

I don’t need to get “fast”, whatever that might mean. While an Age Group award would be nice, I’m not gonna lie, I can live without that, too. But I’d like to move up from the Back of the Pack to the middle.

I can control my destiny, but not my fate. Destiny means there are opportunities to turn right or left, but fate is a one-way street. I believe we all have the as to whether we fulfill our destiny, but our fate is sealed.
–Paul Coelho

By the time you read this, I will (hopefully) have completed state #11 (and my thirteenth half marathon). I can’t control the weather, I can’t control how well stocked the aid stations will be, I can’t control how much the race director lied (just how big is that hill in the middle, anyway?).

About the only thing I can be opportunistic about with this half is trying to draft off another runner if it’s windy. Otherwise, it all comes down to my training (which went well, despite the circumstances) and

I did complete my half marathon. The hills were far worse than I anticipated (1000+ ft elevation gain, anyone?). While there was a slight breeze, no need to draft (not to mention finishing BOTP style means no one near enough to draft off of towards the end!).

One thing I know for sure
I’m not much of an opportunist. I like to plan, and I like to be guided by a plan. Signing up for the Best Damn Race in NOLA was rather opportunisitc, though: I was taking advantage of the lower price dangled as a carrot, but it was done rather on a whim, than with a plan.

Deb Runs

Tell me in the comments:

Are you a planner, or more of an opportunist?

Ever found yourself being an opportunist during a race?

Do you think being an opportunist can be a good thing?